Written by Sarah

The Walking Dead season one wrapped up on AMC Sunday night with record-busting numbers. Season two is scheduled to premiere in October 2011, which is a long time to wait for something I love so much, but if it means they’ll approach season two with the same level of care and commitment they showed in season one, I can gut it out. Season two looms under a cloud of controversy though because series creator/producer Frank Darabont fired all the writers.

Yes, ALL the writers. Not one or two of them, but all of them, including the head writer, veteran TV man Chick Eglee—he’s worked on NYPD Blue, Dexter, and The Shield. Further, Darabont wants to forego a writing staff altogether (I expect the Writers’ Guild will have a strong opinion about this) for season two, and only farm out scripts to freelancers as he feels necessary.

A lot of people are nervous—The Walking Dead is one of the freshest, most original shows on television in the last several years. Why mess with that? That’s the thing—they’re not. Darabont did all the heavy lifting with season one’s writing, as well as directing the epic pilot and serving as showrunner. If he feels he can continue to balance his producing and writing duties—let him. The Walking Dead’s only real problem in season one was that of consistency. Tone and pacing shifted a lot and some episodes had super strong openings or endings but flat middles. Not uncommon for TV, but that usually points to a writer problem. Let’s see what Darabont can do when every script, officially, runs through him first.

Other than the writing situation, everything else is as usual for season two. All the actors are signed on for “multiple” seasons, the producing staff remains the same and makeup master George Nicotero’s FX company, KNB, is still chief in charge of zombification. Up in the air is Nicotero himself—he did a lot of work on season one and it’s unclear if he’ll be as available for the longer season two shoot (thirteen episodes!), but he’ll likely be around some, if not all, of the time.

Overall, for a season that lasted only six episodes, The Walking Dead was engrossing and engaging and just enough to hook us in for an expanded second season. SPOILERS! I didn’t love the finale as much as I wanted to (episodes three and five were my favorites, after the pilot), but it had some excellent moments. Seeing the MRI of a zombified brain was interesting (as was seeing the zombie get shot on MRI), and Dr. Edwin Jenner’s scary calm crazy was a great foil for Rick’s frustration and fear. I was sad to see Jenner (played by Noah Emmerich) go after only the one episode—wish he could have had a longer arc, but then, we did only get six episodes. For the “zombie show”, The Walking Dead certainly does have a lot of human drama.

As for Officer Rick, I expect to see Andrew Lincoln—you might recognize him from Love Actually—sitting in some awards audiences next month (oh my god, Officer Rick in a tux!). I don’t understand the politics of television voting as well as I do those of feature films, but Lincoln not getting nominated as Best Actor in a drama seems impossible. Ditto for Darabont’s writing and directing (for the pilot), and the show as Best Drama overall. Whatever comes next for Officer Rick and his band of survivors, season one of The Walking Dead was a unique and unexpected achievement in American television.


Attached – Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Callies at MIPCOM in October. With Don Draper!

Photos from Wenn.com